Stunning. Amazing. Unprecedented. Those are strong words, and the first thoughts that come to my mind when I describe the new "Data Center of the Next Millennium," which Microsoft, Unisys, EMC and other strategic technology partners unveiled at Comdex ’99.

The Windows 2000 Datacenter Server (Datacenter) simulates an electronic business of the future called Interstellar Outfitters, a supply site for spaceships and stations. According to Microsoft, the site will handle greater e-commerce transaction volumes in only five days at Comdex ’99 than the total online purchasing transactions handled during the 1998 44-day holiday shopping period. And when Microsoft spokespeople say "total online purchases," they're talking about the total of all e-commerce conducted by all Internet sites during the 1998 holiday season. Here’s another interesting statistic. Microsoft says that Interstellar Outfitters processes 6000 orders per minute (each order represents a shopping basket with an average of 10 items), which the company claims is 3000 times more volume than Amazon.com handles in a similar time frame.

Sure, the Datacenter uses Windows 2000, Internet Information Server (IIS), and other interesting technology, but we're SQL Server jocks. How big is the SQL Server used in this monster demo? Well, the OLTP database is 2TB and the data-warehouse SQL Server is 9TB with more than 25 billion rows of data. That's big by anyone's standards!

OK, fine, Interstellar Outfitters is only a simulation, and you need to take simulations with a grain of salt. For the sake of argument, let’s say that Microsoft’s simulation is off by a factor of 10 compared to what would happen in a real e-commerce site. That means that the Microsoft solution still is handling 300 times the average order volume of Amazon.com. Who says SQL Server and Windows NT can’t scale?

Does your e-commerce site process 3000 times more orders than Amazon.com? If not, then Microsoft and SQL Server are big enough and fast enough to handle your needs.